The Philadelphia Eagles claimed a first ever Super Bowl victory as they stunned the New England Patriots 41-33 in a high-scoring thriller at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
A year on from their stunning comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons, it looked like the Patriots were about to repeat the feat, taking the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter after having trailed by as much as 13 in the first half and 22-12 at the break.
Tom Brady, at 40 years old, threw for a staggering 505 yards, and three touchdowns, but it was his fumble with two minutes and 16 seconds to go, after Philadelphia had reclaimed the lead, that cost the Patriots the game and ended their hopes of a record-equalling sixth Vince Lombardi trophy.
Philly had forged such a healthy first-half lead thanks, in large part, to some fine work from their own QB, Nick Foles, who looked anything but the unfancied back-up he started the season as.
MVP Foles had 372 yards passing, with three TDs, as well as one receiving off a trick play – becoming the first ever to throw and catch a touchdown in Super Bowl history – but the Eagles also had great success in running the football, tallying over 100 yards at an average on nine-per-carry before even half-time.
However, as we know, the Patriots and their head coach, Bill Belichick are the best in the business at making in-game adjustments, and not only did they stop the run by and large in the second half – they also, wisely, got star tight end Rob Gronkowski involved on offense.
Gronk had only one catch in the whole of the first half, and then proceeded to haul in four on New England's opening drive after the interval, the last of which was a five-yard TD strike from Brady to bring the Patriots back to within three.
The Eagles again had an answer though, reclaiming their double-digit lead when Foles found Corey Clement for a contested TD – the running back brilliantly caught the perfectly-thrown ball in the back of the endzone, but replays suggested he may not have had both feet in bounds. However, after an official review, it was deemed there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the original call of a touchdown.
Back came the Patriots, with Brady this time finding the impressive wide receiver Chris Hogan – who, as well as Danny Amendola, had a 100-yard game – for a TD before the end of the third quarter.
A Philadelphia field goal on their next drive meant New England had the opportunity to forge ahead for the first time in the game, and they duly obliged, with Brady finding Gronkowski in the endzone for a second time.
The Eagles weren't done, and with two and a half minutes left on the clock, they re-took the lead, much to the delight of the vocal, and heavily-favoured, Philadelphia crowd inside the stadium.
But – trailing, with two minutes on the clock, and the chance to win a Super Bowl – these are the kind of situations Brady has built a legend out of. And, the usually fearsome Philadelphia defensive front hadn't been able to stop him all day.
In a game that until that point had no sacks at all, the Eagles were able to finally bring some pressure to the Patriots QB and Brandon Graham's strip of Brady all but gave them the game.
A further Jake Elliott field goal was scored off the turnover to see the Eagles lead by eight, the same advantage Atlanta held late in last year's Super Bowl, though this time there were to be no late Brady heroics – with a final-play Hail Mary pass defended – as Philadelphia claimed a first ever, and utterly unforgettable, Super Bowl win.
Earlier, Elliott had kicked the Eagles into a 3-0 lead following an impressive opening drive. The Patriots too put up three points on their opening possession with both defences bending, but not breaking.
Thereafter, however, there was to be a lot of breaking, as the defensive battle between these two teams never materialised, with 1,151 combined total yards of offense put up in an utterly enthralling encounter.
Foles found Alshon Jeffery – a favoured first-half target – for the first touchdown of the game, with a stunning 34-yard strike, while LeGarrette Blount stretched that lead with a brutal 21-yard run into the endzone, the likes of which he did with regularity for the Patriots last year.
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But New England came back into the contest, courtesy of a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 26-yard James White touchdown run following a Foles interception – the Eagles QB again looked for Jeffery, but was picked off as the ball deflected off his receiver's fingertips.
Foles made amends though, with his stunning receiving TD off a Trey Burton pass before the break and his composure in the second half to see his team to victory.